Local businesses have welcomed the recently-introduced Voluntary Compliance Window (WCW) by the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA), saying it is as a huge relief to traders in the prevailing turbulent economic period.
VCW is a measure that government has instituted aimed at relieving taxpayers from possible shocks of Covid-19 pandemic and the window spans from April 8 to October 31 this year.
In an interview on Tuesday, Indigenous Business Association of Malawi (Ibam) President Mike Mlombwa described the granting of the relief as timely and convenient, coming at a time when most local businesses are fighting for survival.
He said: “Most of our members are utilising the window and we are very grateful for this initiative because it will ease the enormous damage and pressure caused by this Covid-19.”
The pandemic has shaken economies, running some businesses to the ground as demand for most goods and services has plummeted due to measures such as partial or total lockdowns to contain the disease.
Mlombwa explained that the window has given a chance to some businesses to settle their arrears with the tax collector without being penalised Random interviews conducted in Lilongwe on Wednesday among members of Importers of Used Cars Association also revealed that some of them have started reaping from the window without being punished for defaulting.
Speaking separately on Wednesday, a Blantyre-based tax expert Emmanuel Kaluluma of EK Tax Consultants said voluntary windows act as an incentive to taxpayers; hence, are encouraged elsewhere.
“These windows are real. Sometimes you have people who have back-slided and they have not been paying taxes so the voluntary tax window says come out and wipe your slate and we won’t charge you penalties. So that is an incentive and those that are willing to be tax compliant take advantage. It is a good measure and initiative,” said Kaluluma.
In an interview, MRA head of Corporate Affairs Steve Kapoloma said the window aims at increasing voluntary compliance among business people.
“The window is open to all businesses and individuals [taxpayers], who are not registered with MRA yet, but have transactions that were supposed to be taxed but were not or have transactions that are supposed to be taxed but are not taxed, among others,” said Kapoloma.